Issey Cross | 5 Minutes With

With the rise of TikTok, we’re used to subconscious endless scrolling with no life’s added value. But then, there is a moment of a brilliant sonic discovery when serotonin kicks in, and you can’t get enough. The most recent case of an instant grab was Issey Cross‘ latest single ‘Bittersweet Goodbye’ produced by Luude.

The breakout drum n bass star Issey Cross did not follow a detailed planned social media strategy; she sort of just went with it in a way that best reflects her personality. As soon as she started having fun with it and aimed to incorporate her real lifestyle, ‘Bittersweet Goodbye’ became a viral sensation before its actual release.

‘Bittersweet Goodbye’ is a modern rendition of the 1997 mega-hit by the Verve, with drum n bass amplified iconic violin arrangements. Issey Cross, alongside the Australian producer Luude, previously worked on a rework of Moby’s sample on ‘Oh My,‘ released earlier this year.

On her way to Berlin for a writing trip, Issey Cross talks to Noctis about her collaboration with Luude, her coincidental viral TikTok moment, and teenage open mics in Kent.

Congratulations on the success of your new single ‘Bittersweet Goodbye’, how has it been since it’s out?

Thank you so much, it has been amazing and even better than I could’ve hoped for. It’s so lovely to see people really supporting the track and receiving messages about how the track makes them feel! 

Could you talk us through how the track came about? Who came up with the idea of sampling ‘Bittersweet Symphony’?

Luude sent me his instrumental version of ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ last summer to write over, so I took it into the studio with a few friends of mine and we wrote the song. At the time, we were also working on ‘Oh My’, so Luude and I agreed that if he put out ‘Oh My’ then ‘Bittersweet Goodbye’ could be my song as it felt perfect for my project! 

How did you and producer Luude first link up?

We first got in contact after ‘Used To This’ with Wilkinson came out, and I got asked to write some ideas over his instrumentals. We still haven’t met unfortunately but he has been super supportive and we speak over Instagram a lot. Hopefully we’ll meet at a show soon! 

The first time I saw a clip of ‘Bitter sweet Goodbye’ on TikTok, I was HOOKED. I kept refreshing your page to see when you will announce the release date. Was it always the plan to promote the song on TikTok the way you did? Because it worked like magic.

Haha, thank you! It wasn’t really planned at all actually. I used to really struggle with TikTok and not knowing what to post so me and some friends decided to started filming videos to us dancing to the song on nights out in clubs with our AirPods in, mainly because I wanted the videos to feel fun and more like my personality. Then I got asked to play the Homebass show and decided to base the set around ‘Bittersweet Goodbye’ because I knew I wanted to put it out ASAP.  I had some people come down to the Homebass show to film some content as we set of the flares and stuff, but I honestly never thought that would be the video that would go viral! It’s crazy how all the footage from the show just came together so well and just shows everyone having a great time. 

What is your opinion on TikTok and the way it affects the music industry and trends? 

As I said, I used to find the whole TikTok thing very frustrating and difficult as I would see other musicians I know doing really well on there, or I would post a video which had completely nothing to do with my music and that would seem to be the one that would do well. I feel like just by being more myself in the videos and not trying to be anyone that I’m not has really helped me, and I don’t worry any more if what I’m posting is cringey or if I feel embarrassed. I think it’s resonated with my followers too because people seem to like just watching people have a great time. I now love TikTok as it’s really helped me connect with my fans and also understand my fan base and what they want to see from me.

How did you get into music and songwriting in the first place?

My dad bought me a guitar when I was about 12 or 13 and ever since then I’ve been writing songs! After a few years, my dad started to take me around to different open mic nights in Kent where I grew up. I used to play some original songs and I guess I just met people along the way and here I am now!

Were you always into drum n bass? Who did you listen to when growing up?

I’ve always been into drum and bass since my teenage years. A few of my friends started DJing, so we’d all go to illegal raves on the weekends, haha. As a kid, my parents would listen to more indie rock kinda music which I also still love now and take a lot of inspiration from. 

What are your favourite raves in the UK?

I love to go to Bristol some weekends to rave as they have a really great drum and bass scene there, but London is also great. I used to love going to Printworks and The Cause in Tottenham but unfortunately they’ve both closed down now.

What are you essentials for a good rave?

I think just good music and a good crowd! 

I love dying my hair pink when I feel down and when I feel like I’m losing control. Do you have similar reasons behind dying your hair different colours?

I think I love dying my hair ‘coz it almost feels like a new me and I think I get bored easily sometimes, so I enjoy changing my look a lot! 

We’re halfway through the year, what were some of the highlights for you and what else do you have planned?

One of my main highlights this year was definitely the Homebass show and then obviously ‘Bittersweet Goodbye’ being released! I’ve got more songs and lots more shows on the way for the rest of the year! I can’t wait.

Follow Issey Cross On Instagram

Photographer: Connor Baker

Words: Karolina Kramplova